For over a decade Prison Fellowship and Justice Fellowship have fought to eliminate rape in American’s prisons. We worked hard to pass the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). The legislation required the Department of Justice to issue standards that will hold prison officials accountable. After much foot dragging, the Attorney General finally issued those standards last month.
When I first broached the subject of supporting PREA there was some hesitation within the ministry as to whether we should become involved in it. So, I asked Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson. His response was immediate and firm, “Pat, we have to get involved in this fight. You and I know the horrors that take place within prison walls, and if we don’t speak up, who will?”
Every part of the ministry mobilized in support of the bill, and after several attempts, PREA was adopted by unanimous votes in both houses.
While prison rape is often the subject of jokes on late night TV, it is not funny. No matter how serious the crime an inmate committed, their sentence does not include being raped. Just one rape is terrible. So, it is shocking that almost 10 percent of our brothers and sisters who are incarcerated are sexually assaulted. These standards will help put an end to those assaults. Our ministry can be proud that it helped prod our nation’s leaders to take action to end this horrifying aspect of prison life.
To learn more about this and other important issues, please click on Justice Fellowship’s Issues in Criminal Justice Reform page.